Niger band Mdou Moctar have made a name for themselves among US and global fans for their unique style of African-influenced rock music. Their recent album Afrique Victime was released in March of 2021, but was written during a time when Niger dealing with the pandemic and under the control of guerrilla organization Boko Haram. Their new Afrique Victime documentary details the hardships of playing music in Niger under the organization’s command.
Mdou Moctar’s 10-minute Afrique Victime documentary was filmed by American bassist Mikey Coltun, who flew to the Niger capital to meet up with the rest of band. The film’s opening gives some background to the situation in Niger, explaining that travel within the country had been restricted for white travelers:
“The global pandemic trapped Mdou Moctar and his band in their home country of Niger. They could not leave to promote their upcoming album, Afrique Victime. Instead, American bassist Mikey Coltun flew to Niger, carrying cameras and recording equipment. Shortly after Mikey arrived, it became clear that it was too dangerous to travel within Niger due to the presence of guerrilla groups such as Boko Haram, which have come to prominence in the country’s power vacuum. So Mdou, Mikey, Ahmoudou and Souleymane met in Niamey, the capital. It was their first time together as a band since they played over 200 concerts worldwide in 2019.”
Throughout the film, Coltun interviews members of the band about their experience making music in Niger. Guitarist Ahmoudou Madassane explained that it was dangerous to play shows in the country at the time, because there was a chance it would be met with violence by Boko Haram.
Watch Mdou Moctar’s Afrique Victime documentary above.
Afrique Victime is out now via Matador. Get it here.